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Pronouncement of the Shipibo-Konibo-Xetebo Nation On the Globalization of Ayahuasca

        In light of yet another assault on one of our healers, Maestra Lucinda  Mahua Campos, who was shot on May 6, 2019 in the community of Paoyhan in the district of Padre Márquez (in the Loreto region of Ucayali Province);

        And noting that the attack coincided with the anniversary of the assassination of another of our master healers, Olivia Arévalo Lomas, at the hands of a Canadian tourist;


        And given the upcoming World Ayahuasca Conference to be held on May 31 in Girona, Catalunya, Spain;


        We, the Union of Onanyabos and Traditional Medical Practitioners of the Shipibo Konibo (ASOMASHK) along with the autonomous governing council of the Shipibo (COSHIKOX), issue the following declaration with utmost urgency on behalf of the Shipibo nation, with a population of 45,000 spread across several provinces in Peru and residing in other countries of the world.


        Apprehensive by the rampant abuse by a outsiders of our sacred plants and of the ancestral knowledge of Amazonian Peoples,


        Recognizing the rapid growth of spiritual tourism in the Amazon;


        Acknowledging, at the same time, that global interest comes with dangers as well as opportunities for the evolution of indigenous knowledge;


And further considering that:

  • Ayahuasca (banisteriopsis caapi) is a sacred plant traditionally used by many Amazonian Peoples and as such was declared the cultural heritage of the Shipibo Konibo nation by the National Institute of Culture (INC) under the National Executive Resolution # 836 of the Legal Code of the State of Peru (published on July 12, 2008); and that our therapeutic and healing chant, the Icaro, is also cultural heritage as declared by the Peruvian state;

  • The Declaration of Yarinacocha, was issued on August 19, 2018 during the first Convention of Traditional Shipibo Medical Practitioners, convened by COSHIKOX as part of the initiative for autonomous governance and self determination, and resulting in the founding of the Union of Onanyabos and Traditional Medical Practitioners of the Shipibo Konibo (ASOMASHK); and this declaration denounced the abuses and enumerated the needs and concerns regarding spiritual wisdom and ancestral knowledge;


  • The World Ayahuasca Conference, which will be held this year in Spain, is of great notoriety and international interest. However, we were not invited to this conference; not as indigenous people nor as an association of Onanyabo- keepers of the ancestral knowledge of sacred Amazonian plants. Nevertheless, on this occasion the global press and scientists from other nations will be speaking about the worldwide use of Ayahuasca.


We would like to state that:

  • Given our history, practice, and methodology, our work as Onanyabo and the indigenous knowledge of sacred medicinal plants are anti-colonialist practices and thus deserving of proper use and social, economic and political respect. We are tired of seeing our knowledge and ancestral practices appropriated by a cannibalistic Western system.


  • There is a great risk that regulation, mainstreaming and medicalization will lead to the concentration of legitimacy in the world of Western medicine and to the exclusion of indigenous practices and communities. What is the point of these global conferences when our own communities are being destroyed and our knowledge and plant technologies are not being transmitted inter-generationally amongst our own people?


        Our organization supports medical pluralism and we believe that our Shipibo medical   practitioners - unified as Onanyabo – can work alongside experts and doctors of the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) to find solutions for illnesses that are afflicting our native communities and more generally in other parts of the world.


       We request that organizers of all of the national and international activities and events related to the use of ancestral medicine who are not connected with our Association, and in particular those planned by foreign organizers, should ask for consent from ASOMASHK in order to counteract the illicit appropriation and piracy of our ancestral knowledge and traditional practices.








       Being conscious of the importance of coordinating and achieving accord amongst maestras and maestros to accept circumstances as well as discuss strategies to solve the problems that impact our communities- with this goal, ASOMASHK was born. ASOMASHK was created in order to coordinate and mark the importance of the work of maestras and maestros, and to provide a mechanism to discuss and strategize towards solutions for problems that affect our communities. ASOMASHK is an organization representative of Onanyabo, the ancestral medical practitioners, formed in defense of our traditional medicine knowledge and wisdom. It entered into validity with Title # 2019-00192700 of the National Superintendent of Public Records in the State of Peru; established and carrying out activities as of January 2019 as a Juridical Person legally constituted and protected by the laws of Peru, valid legal norms, and international treaties and agreements such as the ILO and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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